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Dataview converts text to figures format when using Vertical Axis

Question asked by Paul Wyatt - GVA on Oct 13, 2018

(BOARD Version: 10.1.4)

 

We are all aware of the restrictions when displaying Data-views vertically; no drill downs, formatting issues, etc.  Recently, I discovered another one

 

BOARD will automatically coerce entity members comprising of a string of figures into a numeric format with thousand separator and right justified.

The impact of this is that the developer can present a model as complete only for the client to return with concerns over inconsistent formatting, after delivery.  The reason for the issue was that the client introduced new entity members, post delivery, which were numeric only in nature.

 

An Example

Image 1 below displays four entity members from four separate entities as labelled.  It can be seen that [Tool] and [Supplier ID] are figures but they are presented as though they were text (which they are).  The member being displayed for the [Resource ID] is alphanumeric, as is [Customer] - BUT all members of these entities are text.

 

Image 1: Sample data presented horizontally in a standard dataview object

I want to display the table in image 1 vertically.  In pivoting the dataview, I get the outcome in image 2.  In the left hand image, you can see that the members that were numeric in makup, are now coerced into being actual figures, with thousand separator and justified to the right.  The right hand image shows the next item which contains alphanumeric members and so is displayed as it should be, with the justification remaining to the left as required by the client.  Image 2 serves to demonstrate the outcome when a few new entity members of a numeric only nature are introduced, say on the daily load, where they were not present during development.

 

Image 2: Sample data presented vertically in a standard dataview object

         

         left: Item1 numeric member values converted               Right: Item2 Alphanumeric member values shown correctly

To compensate for the outcome in the left hand table of Image 2, one solution is to add an additional block to the Dataview for each of the blocks that might be affected - see image 3 below.  The algorithm is simple, it is the letter of the block to be repeated, remembering to change the format from numeric to text.

 

Image 3: vertically aligned dataview with compensating blocks to illustrate effect.

Summary

BOARD will convert figure text strings to a numeric when pivoting dataviews which the developer has no control over preventing.  To compensate for this potential outcome, an additional block must be added to repeat the source block value.  The source block should then be hidden. 

 

It is not always known when numeric only text values will be added to a dataset and so, without warning, formatting issues can appear in models after they have been fully tested and delivered.

 

The issue with the proposed fix is that the developer will have to first identify the possibility of numeric only members being introduced at a later date.  Alternatively, one could make clear to the client that the future introduction of numeric members would result in formatting issues.

Outcomes